This team always knew they could compete with the best in the country. This weekend, they proved it.
From June 7-10, four athletes from Penn women's track & field competed on the biggest stage that collegiate running has to offer. The women traveled across the country to the University of Oregon to represent the Quakers in the 2018 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Sophomore Nia Akins, competing in the 800-meter race, and junior Rachel Lee Wilson, in hammer throw, were first the Quakers to take the field on Thursday.
Akins has burst onto the scene in her sophomore season, becoming the first Quaker since 2008 to compete in the 800m at the highest level. She finished her heat in 2:07.26, finishing in 19th place overall and capping her All-American season.
Wilson is not only the first Quaker to be named an All-American in the hammer throw, but she is also the first hammer thrower in program history to qualify for the Championships. Wilson came into the meet first all-time at Penn in the hammer throw with a record of 57.72 meters (189-4). However, she failed to meet her personal best on Saturday and finished in 23rd after recording a throw of 57.10 meters (187-4).
Wilson, however, has shown that she is not one to become complacent. Since setting the program record in the hammer throw last season, Wilson has kept her foot on the gas and is continually setting new benchmarks for herself. Wilson has broken her own records three times this season.
Freshman Ashley Anumba and junior Anna Peyton Malizia were next to don the Red and Blue on Saturday, competing in the discus and high jump respectively.
Anumba was a highly touted high school athlete before coming to Penn and has lived up to the hype through her freshman season, putting up huge numbers all year and qualifying for the Championships. In addition, Anumba, like Wilson, is the first in program history to compete in her discipline — discus — at the Championships. Unfortunately, she battled difficult weather conditions throughout the day and didn’t fare as well as she has in the past, finishing in 21st with a distance of 33.21 meters (108-11).
Malizia joined her teammates in making history at this year's championships as the first high jumper in the history of the program to make it to this level. However, her spectacular run this season came to a disappointing halt as she missed on each of her attempts at 1.73 meters.
These four members of women's track and field capped off an incredible and historic season for the team as a whole with an impressive run to the national championships. This is a season of excellence across the program that will not soon be forgotten.
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